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147: Frank Sinatra, ‘It Was a Very Good Year’

It’s early October, the leaves and the pages of the calendar are turning, a time for some sober and somber thoughts about whither we are headed. Here’s a great song about October and life and reflection.

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080: Tim Ries w. Norah Jones, ‘Wild Horses’

Norah Jones’ style really is her own—country jazz, with a twist of blues and an ample dose of pop hooks. Ear candy that doesn’t insult the brain. Not to mention a pair of lips and a pair of eyes and a figure and an attitude that can make a man lose sleep at night. A fetching beauty with a catchy song, what more could one ask for?
Jazz saxophonist Tim Ries toured extensively with The Stones, who sponsored his very fine, very varied Rolling Stones Project.

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074: Donovan, ‘House of Jansch’

To my utter chagrin, a couple of my erstwhile acquaintances have recently been bad-mouthing Donovan, and them’s fighting words for me. Yeah, yeah, I know, hippie-dippie, limpid, Dylan wannabe, yadda-yadda. They know not of what they speak. Donovan Leitch is one fine artist, with an admirably muscular aesthetic.

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241: John Sebastian, ‘Welcome Back’

Big week coming up for me. Bigger than winning a million dollars in the lottery. Bigger than flying to the moon. Bigger than anything.

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240: The Staves, ‘No Me, No You, No More’

Three young sisters from Watford, singing in DNA-perfect, vocal and emotional accord. Covering each others’ backs, facing outward. Sisters. They come from the same place. Literally.

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070: Buddy Holly, ‘That’ll Be the Day’

The (almost full) story of Buddy Holly’s great song and the night The Grateful Dead backed me singing it. Yeah, for real.

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077: J.S. Bach, ‘The Art of The Fugue’ (The Emerson Quartet, ‘Contrapunctus 9’)

My knowledge of classical music is patchier than an Iowa quilt. But my wife still harbors delusions that I’ll grow up some day, and in her mind listening to Bach is a more dignified and mature activity than listening to The Beach Boys. Well, a lot of people with highly-refined musical sensibilities don’t really understand Brian Wilson, but the opposite is the opposite, I believe. Anyone – even a corner-boy drug dealer from West Baltimore, who takes a moment to pause and listen to “The Art of the Fugue” by Johann Sebastian Bach – must grasp that he is standing before a grandeur and beauty rare in the course of our ordinary lives. Like standing on the lip of the Grand Canyon. Like gazing at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Like hearing your grandchild say “I love you, Poppa.” Those moments in which we transcend the traffic-jam that is our life.

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239: Ben Howard, ‘Keep Your Head Up’

Some of my best friends (and favorite artists) are Millenials. Especially the ones who show respect for their elders.

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